Three Questions to Ask

It’s a Simple Question…

In our work and travels, we have found tremendous interest in how we can each make a difference and advance the equality and empowerment of women and girls. We are often asked: what can I do to advance these issues? Where do I start?

One easy thing that each of us can do is ask at least three questions — of business leaders, of political leaders, of financial advisors, and of media companies and executives.

At Smash, we’ve started a list of questions we’d like to ask. There are more than three in each category; feel free to use the questions that you want answered. We hope that you find this list useful, and add more questions to it.

We’d love to hear about your experiences, the answers you get. We’ll keep updating this list, and sharing what we hear from you. We’d also love to help you craft a strategy to use the answers to these questions to create longer term change. Your thoughts and ideas may be sent to [email protected].

#3questionstoask #becauseits2017

Three Questions to Ask

Business leaders

  1. What percentage of your Board of Directors is women?
  2. What percentage of your senior managers?
  3. Is there a pay gap between men and women who hold the same or similar positions in your company?
  4. What is your company’s sexual harassment policy?
  5. If there are women working for you in a developing country, do they work in a safe environment, earn a livable wage, have access to health care through their jobs?
  6. Have you signed onto the UN Women’s Empowerment principles?
  7. Are you EDGE certified?

Political leaders

  1. What is the breakdown (by gender) of members in your party?
  2. What action have you taken to increase the number of women members in your party?
  3. Have you been a mentor to an aspiring or new female leader?
  4. What policies have you championed that would disproportionately positively impact women?
  5. How many women are on the decision-making body of your political party?
  6. Is the goal of gender equality reflected in your party’s platform through goals and policies?

Education leaders

  1. How are you breaking gender stereotypes in your lessons?
  2. What actions have you taken to encourage girls in STEM classes?
  3. What is the breakdown (by gender) of students in your school?
  4. What is the breakdown (by gender) of teachers?
  5. How far do most students live from your school?

Financial advisors

  1. What questions do you ask investment officers about the diversity of the management teams at the companies/funds they’re pushing?
  2. Do you look to see if companies in which you invest are EDGE certified?  On the PAX index?  Have signed onto the Women’s Empowerment Principles?
  3. Do you offer any products or services that take into account the unique circumstances of women’s lives, including gender-based violence?
  4. In conducting due diligence regarding investments, do you ask about the sexual harassment and pay equity policies of the companies in which you invest?

Media executives

  1. Is there a pay gap between men and women who play similar roles in your projects?
  2. What action have you taken to challenge gender stereotypes in your projects?
  3. What percentage of the projects you work on have women in leadership positions (director, lead actor, etc.)?
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